W21 is an on-going participatory art project focusing on post-feminism and intersectional practice in art, science, culture, and technology. We aim to map feminist practice and to write a collaborative manifesto for the digital era, with deep considerations of gender, class or race.
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The three founders are:
Valeria Facchin is a curator and researcher. With a focus on visual studies, biology and AI, her work explores the relationship between bodies, technologies and future ecosystems.
Valeria’s research questions are: “How can the concept of disembodiment, the neutralisation of genders, be countered and reimagined as productive within the virtual realm?”
While considered as assemblages of computational processes, Valeria compares virtual environments as permeable membranes between worlds. By acting as a layered extension of the physical realm, they could be compared to mini-ecosystems – functional arenas, such as the mesocosms, enclosed and essentially self-sufficient experimental controlled environments. Valeria’s body of work tries to acknowledge their ecomimetic and mesocosmic properties as a way to erode the divisions between the real and the virtual: in other words, through virtual environments, we experience a multitude of universes, n-possibilities. This could be explained through the quantum theory of the multiverse which implies that alongside our world lie a possibly infinite number of other worlds, and to which ours has some connection. Valeria believes that, by bringing the nonhuman world into equal prominence with the human, the synthetic worlds of virtuality should be considered not merely as an extension of reality, but as an independent, yet interconnected ecosystem.
She holds an MA in History of Art from @cafoscari and an MA in Curatorial Museum Studies from @courtauld. She is currently working as Assistant Curator at @fiorucciartrust, London. Before @fiorucciartrust she held curatorial positions, among others, at @somersethouse, @sciencemuseum and @labiennale. Valeria regularly speaks at panels and conferences about the impact of technology in contemporary art practice and she has served as a founding young trustee of @scigalleryve.
Delanie Joy Linden
Delanie Joy Linden is a doctoral student of art history at MIT.
Her research examines the intersections of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century portraiture and colour theory. For many theorists in this period, colour played an important role in “enlivening” art, giving breath to drawings and prints. In portraiture, the colour’s animacy was even more vivid. Lush, silky oil paint and sparkling, velvety pastels enhanced the body’s three-dimensionality. Red fingertips and nostrils, rouge cheeks, blue, black, and brown undulating folds of dimples, chins, and cheeks rendered such bodies alive. Yet, colouring the body was also polemical; colours signified race, class, gender, sickness. Such contradictions form central questions for Linden; what does it mean to be “of colour,” to be “coloured,” to be colourful?
Why did colour and portraiture come to signify categories of human types? W21’s theme this year is “disembodiment,” a theme which has been fundamental to Linden’s research on portraiture, beginning with her training as a portraitist under the guidance of American landscape artist Liv Saether and Swedish portraitist Inger Hodgson. At the University of Michigan, where she doubled-majored in neuroscience and the history of art, portraiture offered a unique medium through which Linden could explore her interdisciplinary interests in the link between the body (represented in art) and the soul (cognition and perception).
She expanded upon this research during her MA at SMU. At the moment, she is working on producing a theory of the “portal” between the soul and body in portraits produced in liminal geographies, such as port towns.
Indrani Saha is a PhD candidate in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture program at MIT. She studies modern art of the United States with a particular interest in histories of abstraction as they intersect with theories of mind, histories of spirituality, and reception theory.
W21’s 2021 theme of “disembodiment” resonates with Saha’s own research interest in how seemingly simple “non-representational” instances of colour and form can yield visceral experiences where one becomes self-conscious of embodiment taking place. As a member of the “Art, Vision, and the Brain” @dukebassconnections team, she studied the dizzying (and nauseating) equiluminant screenprints from Richard Anuszkiewicz’s Spectral Cadmium portfolio. This experience piqued her curiosity in disorienting aesthetic experiences.
How do art objects serve as dis/orientation devices? What are the political, artistic, spiritual, and subjective stakes when disorientation induces becoming? Saha explores these questions in further detail in a wild dissertation-in-progress about women curators/modern art promoters engaged in an effort to operationalise radically abstract modern art to spiritualise and (dis)orient the American public in the early twentieth century.
Saha holds a BA in Cognitive Aesthetics from Duke where she was a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow. Her distinction thesis examined how perceptual disruption and disorientation alter social interaction in Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturation. She has worked with the Nasher Museum as a curatorial intern and student curator.
Hilma af Klint, Serie SUW/UW, Grupp IX/SUW, The Swan, No. 17, 1915, oil on canvas © Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk Photo: Albin Dahlström/@modernamuseet, Stockholm, Sweden.